Managing counter offer from a hiring CEO’s perspective

Your organization has found the right candidate after several rounds of interviews. Offer negotiations are done and offer letter is duly executed. While the candidate serves their notice, you get a call from your search consultant informing you the candidate has received a counter offer from their current employer and is thinking and abut it. What should you do?

I get this question asked a lot and also have experience managing this during my 15 years as a recruiter.

Let’s understand this:

Senior leaders with mature decision making skill generally will not accept a counter offer that is based only on money. If they do, then be thankful and don’t make the hire as that indecisiveness will likely happen in the work place.

It is more often the mid-level executives who are prone to consider counter offers. If you get a sixth sense that the candidate is trying to re-negotiate the package with you using the counter offer as a tool, then they may not be the right candidate for you i.e. it’s a duck.

As an employer or recruiter, it is important to present a non-biased picture to the candidate in question. We need to understand during this time, that genuine candidates are experiencing some stress. We should not pressure them to decide. Here are some push buttons for candidates to put things into perspective:

  • You started exploring the job because the current employer cannot offer what you want- be it money, recognition, career development, product, industry etc. Number one reason why candidates consider leaving is because they don’t like their boss. More money won’t change that.
  • Once you resign, the loyalty with your current employer and boss has mutually ended. 
  • If you were so well thought of why only after you resign do they start listening and making counter offers?

As the employer of the candidate remember that the candidate is not happy and tendered their resignation for a reason. By just offering more money means you are keeping an unhappy employee. Don’t call their friends and wife about it (yes it’s happened before) or guilt trip the candidate. Not wise!

Hiring the right talent is important but so is retaining talent. Have a robust career development plan in place. Keep your best people because it will pay itself many times over.